Ben Kalasho

KENDRICK-KALASHO RACE HEATS UP

 

 

Fact check: Kendrick mailer on Kalasho “fraud and sex scandals” is true.

Kalasho removes social media post accusing him of stalking opponent's home -- after being served with federal lawsuit for removing critical posts and violating First Amendment.

By Miriam Raftery

September 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – Redistricting has pitted Councilmembers Gary Kendrick and Ben Kalasho against each other in what’s shaping up to be one of the most contentious election battles in East County’s history.   

A mailer from Kendrick’s campaign warns voters, “Judge ruled against Ben Kalasho in fraud and sex scandals.”  No, that’s not fake news.  The flyer contains actual headlines and excerpts from East County Magazine and the San Diego Union-Tribune documenting the numerous legal findings, allegations and scandals involving Kalasho.

KALASHO SERVED WITH FEDERAL LAWSUIT AT EL CAJON COUNCIL MEETING

 

Council grapples with rental bicycle problems, commends volunteer Kathy Pillman for founding group that has cleaned up 6 tons of trash

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 14, 2018 (El Cajon) – Citizens who attended Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting once again saw a circus-like performance in which the public spoke out over the clownish antics of Councilmember Ben Kalasho.

KALASHO SEXUAL HARASMENT AND FRAUD CASE REASSIGNED TO NEW JUDGE; SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE TAYLOR RECUSES HIMSELF

 

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Judge Kenneth Medel is now assigned to the Kalashos' case.

September 5, 2018 (El Cajon) -- In the zig-zags of the sexual harassment and fraud case involving El Cajon Council Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica Kalasho, the case zagged on Tuesday when San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy D. Taylor recused himself, ordering the case to be reassigned. By day’s end the case was assigned to Superior Court Judge Kenneth J. Medel.

BENCH WARRANT ISSUED FOR ARREST OF JESSICA KALASHO

 

 

Judge issues warrant because of no-show by Councilman’s wife at key court hearing

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 1, 2018 (El Cajon) -- Life got way more complicated on Friday for Jessica Kalasho, wife of embattled El Cajon City Council member Ben Kalasho.

Jessica Kalasho was scheduled to appear on Friday morning at a judgement debtor’s conference in San Diego Superior Court, however she was a no-show--much to the dismay of presiding Judge Timothy B. Taylor and attorney Jimmie Parker. Parker is representing three contestants who participated in a beauty pageant put on by the Kalashos in 2017 and the owners of an El Cajon taco shop. Plaintiffs allege sexual harassment, fraud and defamation by the Kalashos.

FACT CHECK: KALASHO FALSELY CLAIMS CREDIT FOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OTHERS ON HIS CAMPAIGN MATERIALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 31, 2018 (El Cajon) – On his campaign literature, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho has made some inflated claims about his record. Here’s how the facts compare to the claims.

KALASHO LEAVES DEMOCRATIC PARTY, LASHES OUT AT MEDIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Councilman Kalasho's Facebook followers have shrunk to just 21 people following his numerous ethical and legal controversies.

August 17, 2018 (El Cajon)—El Cajon Councilman Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho tried to reregister as a member of the Federalist Party earlier this week, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. However, the Federalist Party is not recognized in California, so Kalasho is now officially a “decline to state party affiliation” voter.

Originally the party of founding fathers Alexander Hamilton and John Adams, the Federalist Party advocated for a strong federal government but dissolved in the 1820s.  In 2016, a new Federalist Party formed with a polar opposite view, touting smaller government.

READER’S EDITORIAL: KALASHO’S CANDIDATE STATEMENT SLURS EL CAJON AS UNAMERICAN

 

By Jamie Freitas

Councilman Kalasho is running in District 1 in El Cajon, a city with a high population of immigrants and refugees, and which celebrates its diversity and patriotism with an annual “America on Main Street celebration (photo). Last year, that event included a citizenship ceremony for people from 54 different countries.

August 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – Councilman Ben Kalasho thinks El Cajon is dirty,unsafe and does not resemble America. Per his Candidate Statement he submitted he states, "I know that most Fletcher Hills and Grossmont area residents shop in Santee or La Mesa. Why? Because it's safer, cleaner & still feels like you're in America."

COUNCILMAN BEN KALASHO PLED GUILTY TO CRIMINAL WORKERS' COMP FRAUD IN 2015, REMAINS ON PROBATION

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo: Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho, August 2015

August 9, 2018 (El Cajon)--An exclusive investigation by East County Magazine has uncovered a criminal case in which El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho pled guilty to two counts of workers’ compensation fraud in October 2015 (court case #MD094871).

Kalasho was on probation for his crimes, both misdemeanors, when he ran for and won his seat on the City Council in 2016. He remains on probation until October 1, 2018.

Kalasho has pulled papers to run for El Cajon City Council again in November.   

JUDGE DEEMS ADMITTED: KALASHOS COMINGLED ASSETS OF CHAMBER, PAGEANT AND PERSONAL FUNDS, ALSO DEFAMED ATTORNEY LINA CHARRY

 

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

August 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – The legal spiderweb entangling El Cajon Councilman Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho and his wife, Jessica, has become even stickier. Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has issued an order granting a motion by plaintiff Lina Charry, deeming admitted the contents of requests for admissions to which the defendants repeatedly failed to respond.

U.S. PRESS FREEDOM TRACKER REPORTS ON KALASHO DOG ATTACK THREAT AGAINST ECM REPORTER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine Editor

August 5, 2018 (El Cajon) - Councilman Ben Kalasho’s attacks on First Amendment freedom of the press has drawn national attention.  

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which tracks attacks on journalists’ First Amendment rights in the United States, has published an article on our reporter Paul Kruze’s police complaint against El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho accusing Kalasho of threatening Kruze with atrained attack dog. 

ECM EDITOR AND REPORTER WIN GLORIA PENNER AWARD FOR REPORTING ON KALASHO THREATS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Paul Kruze and Miriam Raftery

July 18, 2018 (San Diego) -- The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) San Diego Chapter presented the Gloria Penner Award for political affairs reporting to East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery and reporter Paul Kruze for their entry titled "Kalasho threats."

The judges commented, "Nothing says tough political reporting like exposing a corrupt politican, and the judges believe that Gloria Penner would have been proud of the journalists' work to expose El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho."

The award, named for the late, great KPBS political journalist, was one of four honors won by ECM at last night's SPJ awards dinner at the Kona Kai resort on Shelter Island. The award includes a $250 prize.

The entry detailed threats and retaliatory actions made by Councilman Kalasho, a mayoral candidate, after our news publication reported on his legal and ethical controversies including judicial findings of sexual harassment, fraud, defamation and cyberharassment against beauty pageant contestants and a businessman. 

SHOULD EL CAJON CENSURE COUNCILMAN KALASHO?

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – As the scandals involving Councilman Ben Kalasho mount, with 11 citizens calling for his resignation at the last City Council meeting, some community members are now asking why the City Council has not censured Kalasho, who has announced his intent to run for Mayor. 

TWITTER DROPS FAKE FOLLOWERS; KALASHO’S FOLLOWERS SHRINK BY OVER HALF

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (El Cajon) – Yesterday, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho posted on Twitter, “Just blocked over 3,000 `reporters and so-called journalists’ from my twitter. Only accepting real people. No snooping snakes. Honest reporters welcome.”

Fact check:  Kalasho’s announcement comes the same day that Twitter dropped tens of millions of fake followers in an effort to halt fraud on social media, the Atlantic Journal Constitution reports:  https://www.ajc.com/news/national/twitter-removes-fake-accounts-users-may-see-drop-followers/Qk4eCHLsFaiiMJBfwocZCN/.

SOCIETY OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISTS SPEAKS OUT ON THREATS AGAINST ECM REPORTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Councilman Ben Kalasho during testimony by Paul Kruze regarding Kalasho’s alleged threat to maul the reporter with a trained attack dog

 

July 13, 2018 (El Cajon) – After our reporter Paul Kruze filed a police report alleging that El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho threatened him with an attack dog, the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists issued the following statement:

COMMUNITY MEMBERS URGE KALASHO TO RESIGN OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT FINDINGS AND ALLEGED THREATS

 

 

A group of people in a roomDescription generated with very high confidence

 

 

 

By Briana Ghaffery

View video of Council meeting: https://elcajonca.swagit.com/play/07112018-1233

 

July 11, 2018 (El Cajon) – Eleven speakers called on Councilman Ben Kalasho to resign during public comments at Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting, where the audience included protesters who held signs reading “hands off our daughters” and “sex predator Kalasho belongs in jail” complete with a photoshopped picture of Kalasho as an inmate.

Kalasho has also announced his intention to run for Mayor, challenging incumbent Bill Wells.

JUDGE FINDS FACTS TRUE AND ADMISSIBLE IN CASE AGAINST KALASHOS: FAKED NUDE PHOTOS, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, DEFAMATION, AND OFFER TO TRADE SEX FOR PAGEANT CROWN

 

 

Judicial finding that Kalashos engaged in cyber-harassment, defamation and other intimidating actions comes within days of ECM reporter Paul Kruze filing a police complaint alleging that Councilman Kalasho threatened him with an attack dog and defamed him on social media.

Update: The judge's tentative ruling is now final and the link has been updated.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ben and Jessica Kalasho at  a Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce event, before the U.S. Patent and Trademark office forced them to change the name of the organization due to trademark infringement.

July 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has issued a judgment granting a motion  filed by beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner against El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica. The ruling allows documents and a supporting declaration  submitted by plaintiffs’ lawyers to be admitted as facts at trial and  most damning, orders evidence of the following admissions to be submitted  at trial as true facts--meaning the Kalashos cannot dispute the accuracy of these findings in court:

  • Kalasho, his wife their entities created fake nude photos of Miss Middle East pageant Queen Zhala Tawfiq and published them online “intending to cause and causing Ms. Tawfiq severe emotional distress.”
  • Kalasho propositioned pageant contestant Paris Kargar, offering sex in exchange to ensure she won the 2016 Miss Middle East pageant. He made statements indicating her declining this proposition cost her a fair shot at the title.
  • Kalasho whispered in Kargar’s ear, “You are so f*cking hot, I cannot take my eyes off you.” He also made comments about her breasts jiggling as she walked down the runway.
  • Kalasho conducted one-on-one recorded interviews with 2016 contestants including Tawfiq and Karger, but destroyed these videos after the lawsuit in which Kargar contends she was harassed during her interview.
  • Kalasho,his wife and his entities created multiple alias Facebook profiles used to make defamatory posts against Tres Taqueria, including fabricated poll results and false claims of food poisoning after the restaurant owner refused to post Kalasho campaign signs.

COUNCILMAN KALASHO FACES NEW ACCUSATIONS OF FRAUD OVER ALLEGEDLY FALSE REAL ESTATE DOCUMENT FILINGS

 

By Paul Kruze

March 9, 2018 (El Cajon) -- As though the water couldn’t get any hotter for embattled El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho, he is now facing accusations that he is illegally shielding his personal assets, prior to an anticipated August trial on allegations that he sexually harassed two beauty pageant participants in 2016, among other claims.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Jimmie Davis Parker, asserts that Kalasho made false real estate filings in order to hide assets that could potentially be sought to satisfy a legal judgment, should Kalasho lose the case. (View documents.) 

Filing false real estate documents is a felony crime in California, though it is not yet determined whether the allegation is true.

KALASHO SEEKS TO SET ASIDE COURT RULING ON SLAPP SUIT

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2018 (El Cajon) – Attorney Stephen J. Liosi has filed a motion on behalf of El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho asking the Superior Court to set aside a December ruling that dismissed Kalasho’s countersuit against plaintiffs who are suing him, including two contestants in a beauty pageant he ran and a taco shop owner.

The filing contends that Liosi failed to file documents in Kalasho’s defense, due to Liosi suffering a “traumatic brain injury” after his head struck the windshield in a vehicle accident in 2016.  The motion states that Kalasho has now secured new counsel.

KALASHO GETS SLAPPED: COUNTER SUIT AGAINST ACCUSERS THROWN OUT BY SAN DIEGO JUDGE

 

By Paul Kruze

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Read Judge Taylor’s full decision dismissing Kalasho’s cross complaint.

December 27, 2017 (San Diego)--San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor gave his early Christmas gift Friday to embattled El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho: a proverbial piece of coal.

The judge dismissed a counter suit filed by Kalasho against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner who are suing Kalasho on serious allegations of abusive behavior including sexual misconduct, fraud, defamation, and cyberharassment.

With Kalasho stoically standing next to his attorney, Judge Taylor found that the countersuit filed by Kalasho, a public figure, met the definition of a SLAPP suit meant to intimidate individuals’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. SLAPP suits are illegal under California law. The judge affirmed that the plaintiffs have a right to redress their grievances against Kalasho in a court of law and to speak about their grievances in the media.

“Lawsuits are public proceedings,” Taylor admonished Kalasho’s attorney, Stephen J. Liosi.

LEGAL FILINGS TIE KALASHO TO FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS USED TO SMEAR TACO SHOP, OFFER DETAILS ON “FAKE” NUDE BEAUTY QUEEN PHOTOS

 

Kalasho claims he’s being framed by beauty queens and taco shop owner suing him;

Kalasho’s wife admitted visiting friend In Cerritos, when the allegedly fake nude beauty queen photos were posted online from her friend’s home

By Miriam Raftery

November 6, 2017 (El Cajon) – Today, plaintiffs suing El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho filed an anti-SLAPP motion asking that Kalasho’s countersuit against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop be dismissed as retaliatory and violating their First Amendment rights to speak to the press about their case.   

California’s anti-SLAPP statute prohibits public officials from filing what are known as SLAPP suits to retaliate against members of the public for exercising their free speech and right to petition the government for redress of grievances.  Kalasho’s countersuit took issue with plaintiffs talking to the media, specifically the Reader, about their case.

READER’S EDITORIAL: BEN KALASHO SHOULD NOT BE A SPOKESMAN FOR CHALDEANS

 

By John Birds

November 3, 2017 (El Cajon) -- I am speaking on behalf of thousands of Chaldean's in and around the San Diego community that all agree that Ben Kalasho DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT be allowed, by any media outlet, to speak on behalf of the Chaldean community. We do not like the type of person, who he is or the values that he holds.

KALASHO THREATENS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE—AND LOSES NONPROFIT STATUS OF HIS BEAUTY PAGEANT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 1, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Councilman Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho has escalated his war on media outlets that have published factual investigative reports on his business, political, legal and ethical controversies.

After first threatening litigation against the San Diego Union-Tribune and ridiculing its reporters, Kalasho has now threatened to sue East County Magazine (ECM), though he has not disputed the accuracy of any specific points in our reports. He has also made provably false, defamatory and malicious statements about our media outlet and reporters, as we have documented clearly in this article.

Ironically, amid his baseless efforts to smear our reputable nonprofit, his own nonprofit beauty pageant has had its nonprofit status revoked by the State of California following ECM's inquiries to state regulators, the Attorney General confirmed to ECM.

KALASHO OBJECTS TO CITIZEN CALLING FOR HIS RESIGNATION; EL CAJON COUNCIL BANS FEEDING OF HOMELESS IN PARKS OVER HEPATITS CONCERNS

 

By Paul Kruze

November 1, 2017 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon’s City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to ban feeding of the homeless in public places due to hepatitis concerns, fill a vacancy on its veterans’ commission, and approve a residential housing development. But the most contentious moments came during an impassioned plea from a citizen calling for Councilmember Ben Kalasho to resign, over objections of Kalasho, who sought to silence the resident from speaking out.

KALASHO DEFIES EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL RULE ON WIRELESS DEVICES; COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES CRACKDOWN ON MARIJUANA

Story, videos and photos by Paul Kruze

October 12, 2017 (El Cajon) – An outburst and verbal kerfuffle between El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and Councilman Ben Kalasho at the end of Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting almost overshadowed an earlier unified 5-0 decision to ban outdoor growing  of marijuana by individuals and increase penalties for illegal commercial marijuana dispensaries and commercial growing facilities within the city limits of El Cajon.

EL CAJON TO HOLD REVOTE ON TRASH SERVICE LIENS DUE TO KALASHO CONFLICT OF INTEREST

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 8, 2017 (San Diego) – The City of El Cajon will be reholding public hearings on filing liens against city residents over unpaid bills for trash removal services provided by Waste Management. That decision comes after Councilman Ben Kalasho voted in favor of filing the liens after Waste Management paid $2500 in membership fees to a chamber of commerce that he founded and which his wife headed up since his election to the City Council. 

FIRST AMENDMENT LAWYERS CRITICIZE COUNCILMAN KALASHO FOR LAWSUIT THREATS AND INSULTS MADE TO UNION-TRIBUNE REPORTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

“His behavior is extraordinarily irresponsible. A public official should not be in the business of threatening groundless litigation over acts that are things that reporters do every day.”  -- David Snyder, executive director, First Amendment Coalition

September 19, 2017 (San Diego) – El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho sent emails to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Jeff McDonald repeatedly calling the award-winning journalist a “troll” and threatening legal action after McDonald asked tough questions about Kalasho’s business dealings and apparent conflicts of interests.

COUNCILMAN FACES NEW TURMOIL: ATTORNEY GENERAL PROBES CHARITY; WASTE MANAGEMENT WITHDRAWS CORPORATE SUPPORT OF KALASHO’S CHAMBER

 

By Paul Kruze

Miriam Raftery contributed to this report.

September 8, 2017 (El Cajon) – With hurricanes in the headlines this week, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho finds himself in the eye of a storm—or several--yet again.  California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has sent Kalasho a letter of inquiry probing the Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant USA” run by Kalasho. The action follows questions raised by ECM with state regulators over the pageant's nonprofit status.

EL CAJON COUNCILMAN KALASHO FILES DISCRIMINATION CLAIM WITH STATE OF CALIFORNIA

 

By Paul Kruze

August 19, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Yet more eyes are going to be fixed on embattled El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho with news that he has filed a discrimination complaint with the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The action follows last Tuesday’s 4-1 vote affirming that the only electronic device permitted to be used by Council members at the dais during City Council meetings are city-provided Apple iPad tablets.

The iPads provided to members of the City Council will be configured to only allow access to City of El Cajon official websites and access to the city’s financial budget documents and municipal codes, but other Internet sites will be blocked.  Note-taking software will be downloaded onto the iPads and an attached keyboard will be provided.

KALASHO COUNTERSUES BEAUTY CONTESTANTS FOR DEFAMATION

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 12, 2017 (San Diego) – El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho is counter-suing two contestants in the Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant that he founded, alleging that his reputation has been harmed by their claims that include fraud and sexual harassment.

SECOND PAGEANT CONTESTANT ALLEGES WRONGDOING, ACCUSES KALASHO OF OFFERING TO TRADE SEX FOR CROWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 4, 2017 (El Cajon) –The San Diego Reader reports that a second contestant in the 2016 Miss Middle East Pageant has filed a lawsuit against Ben Kalasho and the pageant that he runs.  Paris Kargar told the Reader that on the eve of the pageant, Kalasho, an El Cajon Councilman, pulled her aside and told her, “You stay here at the hotel tonight with me, and you win.”

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